As New School Year Begins, Financial Challenges Exacerbate Educator Shortage

Poll: Half of Maryland Educators Take on Second Jobs, Debt to Stay in Profession

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As educators and students return to schools across Maryland for the new school year, nearly 50% of Maryland educators are working a second job to make ends meet, according to a recent poll conducted by the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA). Over the last year, more than half of educators have incurred personal debt and 90% have purchased supplies for their classroom out of their own pocket. The findings underscore Maryland’s challenge to increase support for educators to improve recruitment and retention efforts and end the educator shortages that impact school systems across the state.

The survey revealed:

The financial strain is particularly keen among groups of educators who are essential to support and grow, including educators under 30 (61% work a second job), Black educators (50% work a second job), and Hispanic educators (52% work a second job).

“For our students to get the best from our educators, educators must be able to support themselves in the profession they’ve chosen,” said MSEA President Cheryl Bost. “At best, too often educators are struggling to make ends meet while doing their best for students. At worst, the financial strain drives educators out of the profession and keeps others from joining. We need to build a more supportive pipeline for aspiring educators and do more to retain the high quality educators we have through continued investments in the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, strong local contracts, and ensuring that educator voices are at the table.”

The poll was conducted online by GBAO on behalf of MSEA. The polling memo and additional details may be found here. The survey of 2,896 public school employees who are members of MSEA was conducted July 9-16, 2023. The survey results carry a margin of error of +/- 1.8 percentage points. This year’s results were compared to the last time Maryland educators were surveyed on these questions, which was in 2019 and 2018.